The Latest News on SMM
A report by Econsultancy and Guava, released in April, 2009, surveyed British companies about their online marketing intentions. Although the companies are located in the UK, the study’s results reflect North American trends.
The report found tremendous growth in the area of social media marketing. Part of this growth can be attributed to what we can call the Twitter effect. According to the study, 49% of respondents said they would be including Twitter in their SMM strategies in 2009, compared to only 3% in 2008. In fact, Twitter is now second only to Facebook in popularity as a marketing tool, placing ahead of YouTube, LinkedIn, Delicious, Digg and Wikipedia.
This is not to discount these other sites, of course. Social media marketing is not a one-dimensional venture. It requires a mix of sites, including social bookmarking and networking sites. Video marketing is also becoming more important and YouTube is still the leader in that field.
Although it is growing fast, SMM still makes up a small share of the market, as far as ad budgets are concerned. The survey questioned social media marketing agencies who noted that their clients spend about 5% of their ad budget on SMM, compared to 15% on SEO and 24% on paid search. Still, nearly 70% of agencies believe that spending on SMM will increase in 2009. Their clients aren’t as sure, but a healthy 48% of them plan to increase their spending in this area.
Looking at the North American market, a recent story in the Chicago Tribune contains news that will make any owner of a social media marketing company happy – social media is especially attractive to small and medium businesses but because of their small size, these firms need to hire experts to plan and implement their SMM campaigns. That they are doing so despite the poor economy speaks to the strength of social media as a marketing tool.
The Key to Social Media Marketing for Small Business
Understanding the real purpose and potential of SMM is the key to making it work for you. This fact is demonstrated by the UK study. In discussing the primary objective of SMM, the study indicates that the majority of companies use it for branding and directing traffic to their websites, not for increasing sales.
If you own a business, you must be clear on your objectives before you sign with a social media marketing company. Understand that SMM is not going to drive sales. The intention of this type of marketing is to enhance the reputation of your company; to include you in conversations with your customers and potential customers. It is not a quick fix to flagging sales. Typically, companies need to spend months in the SMM arena building their brand before they will realize any tangible gains in sales.
With that slow growth objective in mind, you are ready to talk to your social media marketing company and develop a plan for networking in the online community.